The Supreme Court REQUIRES Nine Justices; Don’t Let Republicans Convince You Otherwise

by RETIII – Republican pundits and Senators (like John McCain and Ted Cruz) recently have shown their hand and stated that they may not consider confirming any justice nominated by a Democratic President — and their principal argument in defense is that “there is no requirement that the Supreme Court have nine justices.”  For example, Ted Cruz recently asserted: Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said that there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices — appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election. “You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” said Cruz, when he was asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on a President Hillary Clinton’s nominees. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with...

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FCC Passes Sweeping Internet Privacy Rules in ‘Big Win for Civil Rights’

by Nadia Prupis – New rules require internet service providers to get customers’ explicit consent before sharing data with third parties. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday passed sweeping new privacy rules designed to keep broadband providers from giving customers’ private data to third parties. The rules, approved by a vote of 3-2, require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing behavioral data like browsing history, location, and other sensitive information with marketing firms or other companies, the Washington Post reports. “It’s the consumers’ information,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. “How it is used should be the consumers’ choice. Not the choice of some corporate algorithm.” According to the Post‘s Brian Fung: Also covered by that requirement are health data, financial information, Social Security numbers and the content of emails and other digital messages. The measure allows the FCC to impose the opt-in rule...

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Snowden: ‘Journalists Are a Threatened Class’ in Era of Mass Surveillance (VIDEO)

by Nika Knight – “Things are pretty bad for our side. For the government’s side, it’s never been easier.” Whistleblower Edward Snowden warned a group of European reporters Wednesday that in the era of mass surveillance, journalists are increasingly a threatened class. In a live-streamed discussion on investigative journalism hosted by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Snowden explored the threats to journalists posed by hostile governmental forces and a vast global surveillance network. “Journalists are increasingly a threatened class when we think about the right to privacy,” Snowden said. “Yes, I can give you tips on how to protect your communications, but you are going to be engaging in an arms race that you simply cannot win. You must fight this on the front pages and you must win, if you want to be able to report in the same way that you’ve been able to do in the previous centuries.” Snowden went...

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On This Day, Oct 29, 1971 – Guitarist Duane Allman Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Duane Allman, a slide guitarist and the leader of the Allman Brothers Band, is killed on this day in 1971 when he loses control of his motorcycle and drives into the side of a flatbed truck in Macon, Georgia. He was 24 years old. After Allman’s death, his band continued to tour and record and it is still together today. In 2004, Rolling Stone declared that the Allman Brothers were the 52nd-greatest rock band of all time. Duane Allman was born in Nashville and grew up in Florida. Before he formed the Allman Brothers Band with his brother Gregg, a singer and keyboard player, Duane had made a name for himself as a session musician for Atlantic Records at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Georgia. There, he played with artists like Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, John Hammond, Ronnie Hawkins, Boz Scaggs and Herbie Mann. In...

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What the FBI Director’s Letter About the Clinton Emails Really Says

by Ian Millhiser – It’s a good idea to read the letter before you report on it. Oy. As of this writing, all three cable news networks are in a frenzy. FBI Director James Comey just sent a letter to Republican congressional committee chairs announcing that he’s taking a new look into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Another investigation! And right before the election! She could be indicted! Well, probably not. Indeed, almost definitely not. Here’s what the letter actually says: The relevant paragraph in this brief letter is the middle one, where Comey writes that the FBI “has learned of the existence” of emails that it previously did not review. In response to this new information, the FBI will now “allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information.” The FBI, in other words, is not reexamining its previous findings. It is not questioning its previous legal conclusion that...

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Trump Contributes $0 to Campaign, Cheats Own Supporters

by Mark Sumner – Every day, Donald Trump makes more false statements than most candidates manage in a year. Whether it’s promising that Mexico will pay for his ‘big, beautiful wall,’ or that manufacturing jobs will magically return, or that he has a secret plan for defeating ISIS, Trump’s campaign is built on lies. Which makes it not all that surprising that he’s lying about how much of his own money he’s putting into his campaign. Despite promising to bankroll the campaign with $100 million of his “own money”—the source of which is completely unknown—he’s a long way from that target. The Republican presidential nominee has given a mere $33,000 to his campaign this month. That means he needs to pony up another $44 million to fulfill the boast that’s become a familiar refrain in interviews and rallies over the past several days. Actually, it’s worse than that. Donald Trump’s real cash...

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AT&T/Time Warner: The Case Against Monster Bell

by CRAIG AARON – An opponent of the mega-merger wonders if the political will to oppose it will survive Election Day. After AT&T announced its plans last Saturday to take over Time Warner in a multi-bazillion-dollar merger, a strange thing happened. Well, a bunch of strange things. First, Donald Trump unexpectedly blasted the merger, saying it was “a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” Then journalists started asking hard questions about a media merger on national television, a rare sight. “Less concentration, I think, is generally helpful, especially in the media,” vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine told Meet the Press. (Hillary Clinton later weighed in, calling for “a very thorough analysis.”) Unless you’re a Time Warner shareholder, C-suite senior executive, or an AT&T lobbyist, this merger would be a disaster. Even Wall Street analysts — who often...

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Report: Hillary Wants Joe Biden For Huge Role In White House

by Oliver Willis – A new report indicates that Vice President Joe Biden’s long tenure in Washington, D.C. may not be over just yet if Hillary Clinton has anything to do with it. According to Politico, the Clinton brain trust is considering offering Biden one of the most important roles in her administration if she wins the election. “Joe Biden is at the top of the internal short list Hillary Clinton’s transition team is preparing for her pick to be secretary of state, a source familiar with the planning tells POLITICO. This would be the first major Cabinet candidate to go public for a campaign that’s insisted its focus remains on winning the election, and perhaps the most central choice for a potential president who was a secretary of state herself.” The report indicates that a formal offer of the position has not been discussed yet between Biden and Clinton. Biden...

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On This Day, Oct 28, 1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis Ends

The Cuban Missile crisis comes to a close as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agrees to remove Russian missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from the United States to respect Cuba’s territorial sovereignty. This ended nearly two weeks of anxiety and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union that came close to provoking a nuclear conflict. The consequences of the crisis were many and varied. Relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union were on shaky ground for some time after Khrushchev’s removal of the missiles, as Fidel Castro accused the Russians of backing down from the Americans and deserting the Cuban revolution. European allies of the United States were also angered, not because of the U.S. stance during the crisis, but because the Kennedy administration kept them virtually in the dark about negotiations that might have led to an atomic war. Inside the Soviet Union, hard-liners...

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The FBI Just Received A Voter Suppression Complaint That Will Terrify Trump

by Rika Christensen – The FBI has actually received a voter suppression complaint, but not against Hillary and the Democrats despite Trump’s insistence that she’s rigging the entire election. No…this complaint was filed against Trump himself, and targets his dangerous requests that his followers monitor polling places on Election Day. The complaint comes from the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, and a memo on the complaint specifically states: “Over the weekend, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump filed complaints against Donald Trump with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and with the FBI Public Corruption Unit for violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guarantees the right to vote for all citizens. The complaints were filed as a reaction to Donald Trump’s call for his supporters to go out and ‘watch the polls,’ which will prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote.”  Trump has repeatedly called...

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After Cancer Diagnosis, Vet Refutes Government’s Agent Orange Expert — And Wins

by Charles Ornstein – After the VA rejects his claim for benefits, an Air Force veteran challenges the findings of the government’s go-to Agent Orange consultant. Six years later he emerges the rare victor. For years, the U.S. military and Department of Veterans Affairs have used the work of a Wyoming-based herbicide expert to flatly reject the claims of groups of veterans who believe Agent Orange made them sick. But occasionally, individual veterans have fought back — and even more rarely, they have won. One of them is Air Force veteran Phil Cacioppo. In 2007, Cacioppo was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He assumed he’d be approved for cash compensation and to receive treatment at VA hospitals. After all, he believed he’d been exposed to Agent Orange while he served as a ground radio equipment repairman at the U-Tapao Airfield in Thailand from 1969 to 1970. And his...

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Marijuana Legalization Looks Likely in Three States

by Jacob Sullum – Polling also suggests Florida will become the first Southern state to allow medical use. According to the latest American Values Survey, conducted last month by the Public Religion Research Institute, a record 63 percent of Americans favor “making the use of marijuana legal,” up from 43 percent in 2012 and 44 percent last year. That result, which was released on Tuesday, comes a week after Gallup reported that 60 percent of Americans think “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” a record for that survey, and two weeks after the Pew Research Center reported that 57 percent of respondents in its latest survey endorsed that proposition, yet another record. But as Washington Post drug policy blogger Christopher Ingraham notes, these results do not necessarily signal a clean sweep for the nine marijuana initiatives on state ballots a week from Tuesday, since the surveys use national samples...

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The Clinton Campaign’s Opposition Research on Trump

by Chesterfield – Recently, while trying to puzzle out the Clinton campaign’s future opposition research (“oppo”), I came across this Politico article by Kenneth P. Vogel from 12 April 2016, which discusses, in part, oppo on Trump presented by David Brock to a room full of “the biggest liberal donors in the country.”  (Brock has a complicated history; certainly, he’s remarkably effective at directing opposition research efforts, and he’s currently doing so for the Clinton campaign.)  When I read an article like this, I’m simply awestruck by the diligence, artistry, and sheer competence of the Clinton campaign.  Again, this is from April, before Trump secured his party’s nomination, when Cruz was still a very real possibility, and when Democratic operatives wondered if Ryan might enter the race in an open convention and end up becoming the “consensus candidate.”  Brock crowed to the donors that his group compiled a “trove” of oppo to “knock Trump Tower down to the sub-basement.” Further, he detailed the Clinton...

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The Ruthless Tactics Trump has Used to Avoid State and Local Taxes

by Bryce Covert – He’s told tax officials one thing and the public another, all to save a buck. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has basically admitted to avoiding paying federal income taxes for a long period of time — potentially as long as 18 years. In his defense, he has insisted that he pays other taxes, such as those owed to state and local governments. “Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions,” his campaign said in a statement in response to documents uncovered by the New York Times that showed he may have skirted federal taxes. They kept repeating this defense even as Trump refuses to release his tax returns. But court and tax records obtained by a number of media outlets show that he has...

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Republicans Plan To Strangle The Supreme Court To Death In Retaliation For A Hillary Victory

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Making sure that Democrats take control of the Senate just became even more important. Ever since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, Republicans have refused to let President Obama fill the vacant seat he left behind on the Supreme Court bench. President Obama even nominated Merrick Garland, whom many consider to be a moderate who has even been praised in the past by the very Republicans who are blocking him now. There had been rumors that Republicans may approve his nomination if Hillary Clinton wins the election in order to prevent her from nominating someone more liberal to the post. But now it appears Republicans have something even more sinister in mind if they end up keeping control of the Senate in November. Arizona Senator John McCain, despite joining with his fellow Republicans to declare that the next president should get to pick the next...

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Grassroots Victory: Second-Biggest County in U.S. Raises Minimum Wage

by Pascal Brixel – Picture a state with a government so dysfunctional that it goes for an entire year without a full operating budget. How can we possibly make progress in a state like Illinois? Answer: Begin by organizing the counties, and aim audaciously yet strategically high. The government of Cook County, the second-biggest county in the nation, voted 13 to 3 on Wednesday to raise its minimum wage from $8.25 to $13 by 2020. In a state whose corporate lobby looms over its politics like a leviathan, this measure represents a major victory. It comes as the result of a long campaign by the Chicago-based grassroots organization the People’s Lobby and its ally ONE Northside, both affiliates of People’s Action—but the campaign was premised on a much more radical demand. The Meaning of $13 $13 is not a living wage. According to research by the People’s Action Institute, the living...

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Embattled Arizona Sheriff and Trump Ally Charged with Criminal Contempt

by Alice Miranda Ollstein – Joe Arpaio is running for reelection with a court date looming. Maricopa County’s controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio was slapped with criminal contempt charges this week that allege he willfully violated a judge’s order to stop illegally racially profiling Latinos. He also faces possible charges for obstruction of justice and perjury. The 84-year-old Arpaio has to appear in federal court on December 6. If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail. But first, in just two weeks, the sheriff faces the toughest reelection contest of his multi-decade career. Arpaio can either be removed from office by Arizona’s voters or by the federal courts. Fernando Abundes, an undocumented restaurant worker who spent four months in Arpaio’s jail after deputies raided his workplace, hopes for the former. “It’s important that our people turn out to vote and throw him out of office immediately,” he said at a...

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On This Day, Oct 27, 1904 – New York City Subway Opens

At 2:35 on the afternoon of October 27, 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city’s innovative new rapid transit system: the subway. While London boasts the world’s oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system. The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations. Running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, and then heading west along 42nd Street to Times Square, the line finished by zipping north, all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. On opening day, Mayor McClellan so enjoyed his stint as engineer that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street....

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North Carolina Just Lost out on Another 730 Jobs Because of its Anti-LGBT Law

by Zack Ford – Discrimination doesn’t pay. This week, North Carolina found out it is not getting 730 new jobs and a quarter-billion-dollar impact that it was the top contender for. The reason? Its anti-LGBT law, HB2, which bans trans people from using the bathroom and bars municipalities from protecting LGBT people from discrimination. CoStar Group Inc., a real estate analytics company, had been shopping around cities to build a new research operations headquarters, and the contenders were Charlotte, Richmond, Atlanta, and Kansas City. The Atlanta Business Chronicle heard from sources that Charlotte was the favorite. But the jobs are going to Richmond. According to David Dorsch, CoStar Group’s commercial real estate broker, “The primary reason they chose Richmond over Charlotte was HB2.” CoStar Group was itself, a bit mum, simply confirming the jobs were going to Richmond — and no expansions were planned anywhere else. But Dorsch was adamant that the jobs were...

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Losing the Election is Just the Start of Trump’s Inevitable Wave of Future Failures

by kos – In two weeks, Donald Trump will lose. He’ll lose big. He’ll lose in historic fashion. He’ll lose so big, in fact, that the only drama left is whether he can eke out a victory in Texas and Utah. That’s how big he’ll lose, going down in history among the nation’s yuuugest losers. He’ll lose so big, that Republicans down-ballot will go down with him, including some never considered endangered. And he’ll motivate so many hard to turn-out voters, engaging so many of the formerly apathetic, that he will have endangered GOP chances well into the future. That’ll be fun! But really, that’ll be just the beginning. Because Trump’s entire world is about to crash down on him, and the only question is how he handles things when even a tiny shred of this new reality enters the narcissistic bubble around his head. Let’s start with his businesses His brand, which he self-valued at...

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